The University of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley wins the 2nd Annual Kasparov Chess Foundation University Cup
The KCF University Cup is an annual international online team event open to teams from any post-secondary school (university, college, community college, etc.) enrolled in at least one class in the January 2022 semester. The timing was a quick 10 minutes with 5 second increments, perfect for a college setting. A team consists of four players plus two substitutes. This year the event had a team rating cap of 2400 – no team could have an average rating higher than 2400. This little twist made the event extremely competitive. One of the examples:
LiChess.org hosted the KCF University Cup. This was one of the many grandmaster games at the event: Missouri University’s Mikhail Antipov versus Saint Louis University’s Robby Kevlishvili. White has won a crushing game!
The competition was a nine round Swiss tournament with some impressive stats:
- 146 teams from 79 colleges/universities
- 31 countries from all continents
- Almost 700 players took part
- 16 GMs, 19 IMs, 2 WGMs, 3 WIMs, 14 FMs, 5 WFMs
Players from all over the world attended the event. To ensure fair play, players had to opt into a huge, monitored Zoom call.
The battles on the chess screens were intense. With a rating cap of 2400, it was clear that there would be no absolute favourites. It was hard to predict that 11 teams would have a four player average of 2360 or more! The National Technical University of Athens managed to field a near-perfect 2398.
Teams kept picking up points from each other, and it was extremely rare for a game to end near the top of the table 4-0 or even 3.5-0.5. The players put their hearts into the chessboard and it showed with the competitive spirit that all teams brought to the table. Also in the finals, there were several universities battling for first place with 7.5 points: The University of Texas at Dallas (A) made it with a tie against the University of Missouri (A) in the last round, while the University of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley (A) defeated their eternal rival, Texas Tech (A), by the minimum margin to also reach 7.5. Even on board three, both Saint Louis University and National Technical University of Athens (A) were in contention with 6.5 points each, but could only manage 7 when they shared the points. This allowed many other teams to join them with seven points, and the tournament ended in a big tie for third place. Due to the higher number of game points – that was the tie-break system for places other than first – it was the Armenian Institute of Physical Culture and Sports that took home not only third place, but also a top European team.
After nine hard rounds, first place was reduced to another match. Under the tournament rules, the two universities that scored 7.5, UTRGV and UTD, would compete in a decider to determine the winner.
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley vs. University of Texas at Dallas Playoff
The playoff between UTRGV and UTD, in which the former won convincingly.
The teams not only competed for the prestige of the KCF University Cup, but also for an exclusive training session with the legendary world champion Garry Kasparov! At the end of the playoffs, these were the results:
|GM Kamil Dragun||0.5-0.5||IM Guillermo Vázquez|
|IM Irakli Beradze||1-0||IM Rahul Peddi|
|IM Viktor Gazik||1-0||IM Aaron Grabinsky|
|Thomas Küng||1-0||Ricardo Peredo|
UTRGV was coached by GM Bartolomiej Macieja and GM Alexander Mista while UTD was coached by GM Julio Sadorra.
Congratulations to UTRGV who won for the second year in a row despite stiff competition.
Top 10 Final Score:
1 University of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley (A) 7.5 1st place (playoff winner), Top Americas
2 University of Texas at Dallas (A) 7.5 – 2nd place
3 Armenian State Institute of Physical Culture and Sports 7 – 3rd place, top European team
4 University of Warsaw 7th
5 University of Toronto 7th
6 Texas Tech University (A) 7
7 University of Missouri – Mizzou (A) 7 – top mixed doubles
8 University of Texas at Dallas (B) 7 – Top u2200
9 University of Saint-Louis 7th
10 National Technical University of Athens 7
Most notably, from that list, the team from the University of Texas at Dallas (B) won the u2200 award and also won a coaching session with Garry Kasparov!
Further prizes went to:
Gunadarma University (A) – Top Asian Team
Vellore Institute of Technology (A) Top 1800-1999
Indian Institute of Technology (A) Top U1800
University of Benin (A) African top team
Special congratulations to the Nigerian-born University of Benin for winning the Top African Team two years in a row.
All of these bouts were closely followed by people around the world thanks to comments from US Women’s Champion IM Carissa Yip as well as FM Gauri Shankar.
The commentators were joined by a special guest before the start of Round 6: World Champion Garry Kasparov for over an hour on Sunday’s broadcast.
Carissa is a current member of the Young Stars program and it is now in character that Kasparov joins a KCF Young Star with commentary for this event: Last year the World Champion joined one of the program’s graduates, GM Daniel Naroditsky. Carissa has been very open about how the KCF Young Stars program has helped her achieve her goals. Garry Kasparov was open during the commentary session, answering questions on all aspects of chess, from game analysis to book writing. If you’d like to enjoy this insightful conversation, find the link by clicking here.
All information about the tournament, the pairings, links to the games and the final results can be found under
Official website of the KCF University Cup
KCF assembled a multinational team of officials and organizers who ensured fair and friendly competition. Thanks to them, this event ran smoothly. Officials include:
- Michael Khodarkovsky, President of the Kasparov Chess Foundation
- Grandmaster Alex Onischuk, Chairman of the US Chess College Committee
- International Referee Grant Oen, Head Referee
- International Arbiter Ignatius Leong, Asia-Pacific Director of the Kasparov Chess Foundation
- Hiquingari Carranza, Director of KCF Iberoamerica
- Graham Juergensen, KCF Africa Director
- Grandmaster Zlatko Klaric, KCF Adriatic Director
- Grandmaster Darcy Lima, KCF Lusophone Director
About the Kasparov Chess Foundation
Founded by World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, KCF’s mission is to introduce the many educational benefits of chess to children worldwide by providing a complete chess curriculum and enriching programmes. The foundation promotes the learning of chess as a cognitive learning tool in curriculum classes and after-school programs for elementary, middle and high schools, in both the public and private school sectors. The non-profit educational organization also organizes tournaments and competitions at local and national levels. For more information, please visit http://www.kasparovchessfoundation.org.